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Eastern Hancock produces emphatic win over Triton Central

CHARLOTTESVILLE -- Eastern Hancock sent a message. Triton Central heard it loud and clear.

Ruby White dominated the first quarter and Grace Stapleton caught fire in the third quarter to lead Class 2A, No. 15 Eastern Hancock to a 56-34 victory over visiting 2A No. 10 Triton Central.

Both the Royals, now 3-1, and the Tigers, 1-2, know they will likely meet again in February as part of the five-team Sectional 42 field. Eastern Hancock broke an 8-game losing streak to Triton Central in the 2022 sectional semifinal with a 66-65 three-overtime victory. Now the Royals have won two straight over their rivals, with the second win quite convincing.

“There were a few times where we gave up an offensive rebound here and they hit a 3, then we missed a layup here and they got a fast break,” said Triton Central head coach Bryan Graham. “Any time you are playing a good team like that, it can go quick the other way and it did tonight. They shot the ball extremely well and we didn’t.”

Triton Central battled the flu all week, leading to sick basketball players Thursday in a win over Cascade, sick football players Friday in the regional championship game loss to Evansville Mater Dei, and more sick basketball players Saturday in Charlottesville.

Starting guard Hallie Schweitzer did not play while Jenna Cox and Maryrose Felling played but struggled.

“Right now, it’s just a situation where you are just trying to get over all the sickness at once,” said Graham. “It’s no excuse. We’ve still got to play but it definitely doesn’t help.”

Triton Central was frustrated early by White, a six-foot, one-inch junior, who blocked four shots, grabbed five rebounds and scored eight points in the first quarter to stake Eastern Hancock to a 12-10 lead.

Head coach Shari Doud used a steady rotation of athletes to push TC’s guards outside the arc much of the game and it stifled the Tigers’ offense into a 1-for-7 shooting performance in the second quarter.

“We were just going sideline to sideline,” said Graham. “We are very good at turning the corner and tonight we didn’t turn the corner or double move from the pressure and step back, crossover and go the other way. We just struggled and couldn’t turn the corner at all.”

Emma Bolding scored six of her 13 points in the second period while White added six more points to help the Royals extend their lead to 28-13.

Back-to-back baskets by Stapleton and White pushed the Royals’ lead to 32-13 before TC put together a run.

Lizzie Graham hit a corner 3-pointer off an assist from Brooklyn Bailey. Kennedy Brown, pressed into the starting lineup due to Schweitzer’s illness, made a pair of free throws and Riley Ross scored in the low post to give the Tigers hope.

Stapleton ended that run with a steal and score and then hit four 3s in the final 2:30 of the quarter to get the lead to 50-24 after three quarters.

By the mid-point of the fourth quarter, Graham put Lizzie Graham (sick Thursday), Felling and Cox on the bench for good.

White led all scorers with 22 points. Stapleton followed at 19, with 16 points coming in the third quarter. The senior guard also had five rebounds, five assists and two steals.

Lizzie Graham led Triton Central with eight points. Brown finished with seven and Bailey had six points and five rebounds.

Triton Central won the junior varsity game 38-37 to improve to 2-1 this season. Lucy Spall and Jaylee Davis led Triton Central with 10 points.

Triton Central is 1-2 for the first time in Bryan Graham’s 15 seasons as head coach. The last time the Tigers started 1-2 was in the 2006 season.

The Tigers are back in action Wednesday at Monrovia (1-2) and Friday at Indianapolis Lutheran (0-1).

 

Eastern Hancock 56, Triton Central 34

TC: Graham 2-7 2-2 8, Felling 1-4 0-0 2, Bailey 1-6 3-4 6, Cox 0-3 0-1 0, Brown 2-4 2-4 7, Harris 1-1 2-3 5, Ross 2-4 0-0 4, Spall 0-1 0-0 0, Collins 0-1 2-2 2, Firebaugh 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 9-31 11-16 34.

EH: Stapleton 7-11 0-0 19, Springman 0-1 2-2 2, White 8-14 6-6 22, O’Neal 0-3 0-1 0, E. Bolding 6-9 1-2 13, Willis 0-5 0-0 0, S. Bolding 0-2 0-0 0, Meyer 0-2 0-0 0, Andrus 0-1 0-0 0, Parker 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 21-48 9-11 56.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

TC (1-2)  10    3  11  10  --  34

EH (3-1)  12  16  22    6 --  56

Three-point field goals: TC 5-13 (Graham 2-5, Felling 0-2, Bailey 1-2, Cox 0-2, Brown 1-1, Harris 1-1), EH 5-13 (Stapleton 5-8, O’Neal 0-1, Willis 0-2, S. Bolding 0-1, Andrus 0-1). Rebounds: TC 21 (Felling 3, Bailey 5, Cox 1, Brown 3, Harris 4, Ross 4, Collins 1), EH 25 (Stapleton 5, White 8, O’Neal 2, E. Bolding 4, Willis 1, S. Bolding 2, Meyer 3). Assists: TC 7 (Felling 2, Bailey 2, Cox 2, Brown 1), EH 15 (Stapleton 5, O’Neal 1, E. Bolding 2, Willis 2, S. Bolding 3, Meyer 2). Steals: TC 1 (Harris 1), EH 8 (Stapleton 2, Springman 1, White 2, E. Bolding 1, Willis 2). Blocks: EH 4 (White 4). Total fouls: TC 13, EH 17. Fouled out: White (EH). Turnovers: TC 19, EH 9.

JV

Triton Central 38, Eastern Hancock 37

TC: Spall 10, Davis 10, Allen 5, Firebaugh 5, Ball 3, Collins 3, Coen 2.
EH: Judd 10, Parker 9, Andrus 7, Riggs 5, Keller 4, Richey 2.

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